Breaking: Salisbury Revises City Ordinances to Regulate Panhandling Amid Growing Concerns

Breaking: Salisbury Revises City Ordinances to Regulate Panhandling Amid Growing Concerns

In response to increased public concern, Salisbury is revising city ordinances to regulate panhandling, a practice involving the solicitation of food or money on public streets. While City Attorney Graham Corriher maintains that panhandling is constitutionally protected as free speech, the city sees an urgent need to implement time, place, and manner restrictions for the sake of public safety.

New Regulations on Panhandling

The revised ordinances will prohibit panhandling after dark and aggressive panhandling in any form. Moreover, panhandling will be restricted near ATMs, banks, bus stops, transit facilities, sidewalk cafes during work hours, daycares, schools, and in queues for buildings. The city also plans to impose a ban on panhandling within 100 feet of high-traffic or collision-prone roads.

Penalties for Violation

Violating these ordinances will carry escalating consequences. Initially, a written warning will be issued, followed by a citation with a criminal charge. Persistent offenders may face arrest.

City Council’s Plan

The city council did not take action during the recent meeting, choosing instead to discuss the ordinances further at the next one. Until then, the council has agreed to install ‘non-regulatory signs’ aimed at discouraging engagement with panhandlers through public education.

Meanwhile, a proposed bill in Annapolis seeks to outlaw soliciting money from drivers on roads, medians, and intersections specifically within Wicomico County. The bill’s primary goal is to enhance public safety. Although it does not seek to prohibit panhandling entirely, it has faced criticism from homeless individuals who depend on panhandling as a source of income. The bill’s passage depends on support from the Wicomico County Council and, if enacted, Wicomico County would join other Maryland counties in prohibiting such forms of solicitation.

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